Category: Construction

What I Made: Indigo Miller

Balancing a full time career and a lively social calendar is mighty task. So big that I could break a nail. One minute, I’m immersed in a professional meeting and the next, I’m at a cocktail hour, garden party, boozy brunch or romantic rendezvous. How do I dress for it all without smudging my mascara or creasing my clothing? With a swanky, self-stitched, above-the-knee frocktail. Puh-lease! I’m kidding! My social calendar involves mostly hanging out with cats, Basil and Sage, and my most romantic rendezvous has been with my Bernina 560. My grandmother says your twenties are the best years of your life. The real reason I conceived this dress? Yes, I gave birth to her and I shall name her Indigo Miller. Since the beginning of this year, I’ve been immersed in lingerie sewing, but kept this project on the back burner. It was nice progressing at a lazy pace with no finish date. Then, I ran out of elastic. How did I run out of the one, if not the most essential lingerie trim? Who knows, but it happened and I didn’t have 1/4”, 3/8” or 1/2” plush elastic. So while I waited for more to arrive in the mail – my local sewing stores don’t sell it – Indigo Miller was brought from the back to the front burner. I didn’t like sewing her at first. I kept thinking about lingerie. Now that I finished, I realized it was just what I needed – a taste of garment sewing. I bought this fabric at Jomar’s over a year ago. I don’t have a stash, but I have a few fabrics that I saw, purchased and kept. I almost cut into it on many occasions, and each time I came close, I thought, “No, no, no… this fabric is meant…

Read More >>>

tags: Construction Comments: 15

The Difference Between a Full and Partial Band Bra + How To Convert

I’ve sewn mostly full band bras, but I’m currently experimenting with a partial band style. The project has me going back to two posts I wrote about the difference between a partial band and a full band bra. I’ve learned a lot since, and there are some updates I’d like to make to that post. First is a clearer graphic that will hopefully explain the difference a little better. The measurements were also incorrect. I have deleted old posts since the information was not right and I’m fixing now. And don’t think that I’m moving away from soft bras like Nina Warner! They are still my favorite silhouette and I see myself going that route in the future, but this partial brand is just a fun little project. The pattern for a partial band and a full band bra are not the same, meaning you cannot sew the cups from a partial band bra into the frame of a full band bra. You also can’t decide mid-sewing to change a partial band bra to a full band bra or vice versa. In both cases, a pattern alteration is necessary. The only pattern piece that is interchangeable are the straps, and that’s assuming you have fabric straps and not elastic straps (elastic straps don’t require a pattern piece). A full band bra is a bra in which the cups are sewn into a frame, and a partial band bra is a bra in which there is no frame and the band and the bridge are separate pieces. For both styles, the wire line sits at the base of the breast, which is indicated by the lighter blue line in the figure above, but the position of the cup seam is different depending on the style. Briefly put, the cups for a partial band bra are bigger than the cups for a full band bra to account…

Read More >>>

tags: bra making, Construction, lingerie, Pattern Making Comments: 13

Adventures in Muslin Making

Let’s talk muslins, or as some refer to it, toiles. Do you hate making them or love it? Do you make it out of an unbleached cotton or do you use fashion fabric? How do you mark your corrections? Do you transfer them to pattern paper, oak tag or something similar, or do you use the muslin as the pattern for the final garment? Do you use a pen, pencil, pins ot safety pins? Do you take pictures wearing the muslin for a more accurate analysis? Do you have anyone chime in on the fit and silhouette (i.e. children, significant other, pet)? Do you use a longer stitch length to sew? Do you make the whole garment or just a portion (i.e. one sleeve)? I think that about covers all the questions that have been going through my mind as I truck through the muslin stage of the dress pictured above. Oh muslins!

Read More >>>

tags: Construction, Wardrobe Comments: 10

Madalynne Update

Outside of sewing lingerie (did you see Nina Warner? Love!), I have been working on many exciting projects. There are new things coming soon, so to give you a sneak peek, I’m sharing a few below. Stay tuned! Bra Making with Madalynne: Mark your calendars! Summer 2015 will hopefully bring 2 more bra workshops! In May, I am meeting with Anna, who co-hosted the inaugural workshop. Dates will be announced soon after. We have a lot of new ideas to make the next workshop so much better. This time around, we will hold it at Madalynne Studios. Because of heating concerns, the first was held at Love Me Do’s studio. You can check out all the fun we had on my workshop page and if you’re interested in attended, email me! I’ll add you to a list of ladies who will get first notice when registration opens. Portrait of a Seamstress: Remember that book I wrote two years ago and still haven’t published? I took a brief sabbatical after I was turned down from every single publisher. They wanted a tutorial-based book. I want to do something different. I picked it up at the beginning of the year and have edited it heavily. I’m somewhat glad I got turned down because the book is so much cleaner and refined after looking at it with a refreshed eye! In May, I’ll begin working with Shannon from Little Kids Grow, to self publish. Shannon specializes in self publishing and I’m so excited to work with her. If all goes to plan, 2015 will be the year! Madalynne Studios: Have you noticed that recent What I’ve Made posts have featured garments flat and not on body? I haven’t been at the studio a lot. Blame old man winter. The heating is not the…

Read More >>>

tags: bra making, cats, Construction, lingerie, personal, portrait of a seamstress, teaching Comments: 14

Using Woolly Nylon Thread

I go against tradition when I serge bra seams. The “rules” are to either press the seams open and leave raw (if the fabric doesn’t fray), press the seams to one side and topstitch (again, if the fabric doesn’t fray), or to cover the seam allowances with a tape like 15 denier nylon bias-cut (scroll halfway down the page). Unless it’s a design detail like reverse hong kong binding, I don’t like raw raw edges on the inside or the outside of a garment. So, I wasn’t a fan of rule number one or two. Even on a straight seam, it can be difficult to sew an even length away from the seam. Can you imagine the difficultly of trying to attach tape neatly over a cross cup seam? Sure, with some practice and glue (to hold the tape in place), I’d get the hang of it over time. It’s the finish most commonly used in RTW. But if there’s an easier method, why not save myself the trouble? Enter the overlock stitch, or serge. Because of my cup size, an A or a B, I don’t stabilize the cups with a non stretch fabric like tricot. I usually lined cups with a classic or light weight power net or micro mesh. So an overlock stitch, which naturally stretches, makes it suitable as well as easy finish for my bras. Normally, I use 100% polyester cone threads for serging. I choose it over 100% cotton because it has more give. I haven’t had a problem, but I’ve read that woolly nylon thread is a better choice for stretch fabrics. As the name suggests, woolly nylon is made from nylon fibers, which results in a thread that stretches and recovers, provides more coverage and has a softer touch. The increased coverage also makes it ideal for for rolled hems. It’s usually used in one or both…

Read More >>>

tags: bra making, Construction, knits, lingerie, sewing tools Comments: 20